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Russian dance photo exhibit

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ARMEN DANILIAN/BEHIND THE CURTAIN

814 BROADWAY/APRIL 14, 2008/5:00PM-9:00PM

Opening in conjunction with the launch of the Kirov Ballet’s Spring 2008 season is Behind the Curtain, the debut

exhibition of twenty-two year old, Russian-born, New-York-based photographer Armen Danilian. The show, which

runs for just one day in the midst of the festivities, kicks off with a reception to be attended by members of the world

renown company on Monday, April 14 from 5:00pm to 9:00pm at 814 Broadway, with future dates forthcoming.

The exhibition will consist of more than two dozen photographs documenting nearly a decade of dance from the

singular vantage point of the young artist. Accompanying this event is an exclusive catalogue that compiles his most

poignant images of the Kirov Ballet.

The works on view in Armen’s first solo exhibition reflect six years of dedicated effort shooting Russia’s biggest

ballet companies on tour in the United States. It can be said, in fact, that the show represents a lifetime of immersion

for the globe-trekking, Armenian-American Abraham Lincoln High School graduate and New York University

dropout. Armen has toured extensively with the Kirov Ballet, Opera and Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theater, along

with the Bolshoi Ballet and the Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg, as the unofficial photographer and tour manager of

Ardani Artists Management, Inc. His involvement in the technical facets of ballet production has allowed him to

forge personal relationships with art form’s major players while retaining the independent perspective of an observer.

Armen's unique position takes him—literally—behind the curtain, granting him unprecedented access to the inner

sanctum of an industry known for its outward pomp and refinement. He is concerned with the interaction of the

ballet dancers, both physical and psychological, as well as the spaces they inhabit beyond the stage—dressing rooms,

ateliers, hotel suites and corridors. Rarely does an artist, let alone one this young, so deftly navigate uncharted

territory, but Armen’s dual status as insider and spectator compels him to break all expectations in a subgenre that is

too often characterized by cliché. Although grandeur proves inevitable, no aspect is deemed too quotidian for the

photographer’s lens.

Like the ballet itself, the images are at once cerebral and emotive—the successful hybrid of planning and

spontaneous action. Armen’s forte is moments, and moments within moments abound, to say the least. Not one to

shy from irony, or even, the absurd, he captures split-second expressions of emotional conflict and cultural

dissonance, but also, the inherent beauty of his human subjects, whether they be dancers, executives, audience

members or stagehands. The images straddle public and private, East and West, the lofty and the mundane.

Armen is the recipient of numerous industry honors, including the prestigious Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, and

his work has been featured in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and New York Magazine. He has

previously exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum of Art and in multiple traveling group shows. Examples from his

oeuvre can be seen on the popular online gallery tinyvices.com.

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